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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Then versus Now

I recently asked a question to my friends. This question involved soap in the mouth as punishment for a child who has gotten a bit big for his britches. This turned a normal debatable topic into something akin to reporting someone for child abuse. REALLY? It's soap in his mouth. I'm not burning him with cigarettes or anything.

Which prompts my entry this evening. What people are considering child abuse now that they used to consider good parenting when I was young.

I got soap in my mouth. Once, during a struggle, I got liquid soap in my eye. That's another discussion, and the reason I will use bar soap. I know many people who have either gotten soap in the mouth or given soap in the mouth. If they consider this as a reason for children and youth to come visit my house, the door is always open. Come on in. But when my kid gets mouthy to you too, I get to be the one to put the soap in his mouth.

I got spanked. Not only did I get spanked by my parents, I also got spanked by the neighbors. I remember once I did something I wasn't supposed to do. The neighbor spanked me, walked me home to tell my mother what I did, and stood there to watch my mother spank my butt too. That's what they used to call using a village to raise a child. That village had permission to treat a child as if they were their own. I remember being afraid to do things in front of other people because you never had the entire list of who could hit you and who couldn't. Now no one wants to spank their children. And maybe they should. I know a few kids who could use a few swats on the butt with a 2x4.

Not many people got this I'm sure. But I did. Now, feel free to insert the plant life of your choice. I remember once I did something so ridiculous my mother made me go pick my own branch off the bush. It was pure agony standing there trying to decide- large or small, leaves or no leaves. It was almost as much torture picking it as getting hit with it. For the record, whatever offense it was I did, I never did again. Maybe just letting a kid pick a branch would deter the ignorant behavior. Again, I didn't die. I don't have any permanent marks to show for it. But I have a distinct memory. A vivid memory. And that my friends is what matters.

I never personally got the wooden spoon. At least not that I can remember. But my cousins did. They had a full blooded Italian grandmother. And they will all tell you they remember her wielding the spoon. I see these cousins regularly. None of them are disfigured. None of them have been arrested. And they all loved their grandmother. Getting whacked with that wooden spoon didn't cause them any angst that was long lasting. And rest assured, my kid pulls his crap while I'm cooking and I'm liable to whip a wooden spoon around too. I think most Italian grandparents used the spoon because it was handy while they were cooking. And the Italians in my family are always cooking.

I never got the paddle. We didn't own a paddle. But Daddy's family had a paddle. With holes in it. And it hung on the wall. I'm not sure him or any of his brothers ever got paddled with it. But I'm sure seeing it was enough to scare the crap out of them. I hear they whistle if you whip em fast enough. Maybe I should buy one and just wing it around when I get really mad. Bet that would scare the sh*t out of them. They would go running before they could get into and more trouble.

I'm absolutely not saying that we should beat our children senseless. Or feed them enough soap (or pepper, or vinegar) to permanently harm them. I'm simply saying that this irrational fear of hurting our children by punishing them is stupid. This incessant need to talk about feelings is crap. I'm all about talking about things. BUT I don't think I need to discuss a child yelling at me. It's just not going to happen. I'm still the Mommy.

My feeling is this: this kid may THINK he's big but I KNOW I'm big. And I'll be happy to show him any time he needs reminded. And my way includes a butt beating and soap in the mouth. If you don't like it, feel free to call Children and Youth. I'm sure they will tell you it's perfectly acceptable. Or call the cops. I'm sure they don't mind it either. Me spanking my kid will keep them from having to arrest him down the line.

Pennsylvania State Police: you are welcome. I am saving you from having to deal with yet another person who feels the world owes him something on a silver platter. I'll beat that out of him way before you get to him. HA